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May 20, 1994 - Image 55

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-05-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The EEOC guidelines, pro-
posed without fanfare last year,
would extend the definition of
workplace harassment to include
religious harassment as well as
harassment based on sex, race or
national origin.
That's fine with Jewish groups,
who have long been concerned
about employers who seek to im-
pose their religious beliefs on em-
ployees.
But to almost everybody's sur-
prise, the EEOC decision touched
off a blizzard of protest from
Christian fundamentalists who
see the new guidelines as just an-
other step in what many see as a
pervasive government attempt
to make the workplace "religion-
free."
This week, a group of legisla-
tors who support the new ha-
rassment rules — nudged by the
Anti-Defamation League — were
slated to circulate a "dear col-
league" letter supporting the
guidelines; the goal was to coun-
teract the all-out letter writing
campaign by the Christian Right.
`The fact is that it promotes re-
ligious freedom to ensure that
employers understand that reli-
gious harassment is harmful and
illegal," said Michael Lieberman,
ADL's associate Washington di-
rector and counsel. "To leave re-
ligion out of the EEOC guidelines
would send precisely the wrong
message."

The New Rage

In this new age of peace negotia-
tions, Arab embassies have be-
come popular stops for Jewish
delegations visiting Washington.
Arab envoys, thinking about
the economic gains that many
predict for the Mideast after Is-
rael and her neighbors achieve a
stable peace, have been welcom-
ing hosts.
"The peace process has begun
to impact on the consciousness of
Jewish opinion leaders," said
Jonathan Kessler, a Mideast pol-
icy consultant who has arranged
many of the visits. "People in our
community are beginning to look
beyond the borders of Israel to
consider the unlimited possibil-
ities that might exist if the peace
process continues to make
progress. And they want to hear
about it directly from represen-
tatives of the Arab world."
In recent weeks, a delegation
from Chicago requested a meet-
ing with the Egyptian ambas-
sador — and a Jewish delegation
from Miami met with the envoy
from Jordan. A group from Los
Angeles is arriving at the end of
the month, and will also meet wit
the Jordanian ambassador.
Officials of the National Asso-
ciation of Arab Americans also
report a large increase in the
number of Jewish groups seek-
ing briefings on opportunities

opened up by the Mideast peace
talks.

Bosnia's
Champion

There are activists in Washing-
ton who seemingly appear out of
nowhere, inflamed by a single is-
sue and determined to make life
uncomfortable for the political
professionals.
That pretty much describes
Joshua Goldstein, a professor of
international politics and foreign
policy at the American Universi-
ty in Washington and the founder
and chairman of the Bosnia Sup-
port Committee.
Mr. Goldstein's interest in
Bosnia — some would call it an
obsession — stems from his aca-
demic specialty and what he calls
"my Jewish heart."
"I teach about the 1930s," he
said. "About a year and a half
ago, I'd wake up at night and ask

Jewish groups
support his efforts.

myself: Is this what it looked like
at the beginning of the 1930s,
when the United States was iso-
lationist, when the great powers
had economic problems'- and
nobody saw the war and the hor-
ror that was at hand? What hap-
pens if we capitulate to the rise
of fascism? If fascism triumphs
in Bosnia, it won't be good for
Jews anywhere."
Mr. Goldstein began speaking
on the subject at local Hillels and
community groups, where stu-
dents were "galvanized" by the
moral imperative of helping pre-
vent a Bosnian catastrophe, he
said.
He also organized demonstra-
tions in front of the U.S. Holo-
caust Memorial Museum to point
out the parallels between the de-
struction of European Jewry and
the savagery in Bosnia. This
week, Mr. Goldstein was busy
preparing for a Sunday "interre-
ligious call to praye?' in front of
the White House that could in-
volve civil disobedience by a
group of rabbis "if events war-
rant."
Jewish groups, he said, have
been unusually supportive of his
efforts. "But many groups don't
feel they have membership back-
ing for strong positions on Bosnia.
So we have been working to de-
velop that support, through a net-
work of rabbis, through local
Hillels."
Specifically, Mr. Goldstein
wants the U.S. to lift the arms
embargo on Bosnia and to be
more active in using air strikes
to protect Bosnian civilians.

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